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How to help Huskies be successful college students

November 2, 2021

With spring class registration open this week and fall finals just a month away, it’s a critical time for staff and faculty to check in with Huskies. Stress in the midst of the semester, coupled with the onset of colder weather, can tempt students to procrastinate on assignments and even skip classes.

Leaders in Northern Illinois University’s Division of Academic Affairs and the Division of Student Affairs are asking employees to contribute to a campus-wide conversation on Huskie achievement.

“How we talk to students matters, because the interactions we have with Huskies can change the course of their day for the positive or negative,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Ingram, Ph.D. “It’s really up to us to translate what we do into language that makes sense to students, to really listen and ask them good questions so we know what they need, and to actively root for their success.”

One easy resource staff and faculty can remind students to use is the Huskie Connections newsletter. Additionally, parents and guardians of enrolled students can sign up to receive Family Connections.

“These newsletters are intended to be a single snapshot for student information,” said Charles Fey, Ed.D., interim vice president of Student Affairs. “Our goal is to offer Huskies and their families regular touchpoints on alternating weeks without overwhelming their inboxes.”

Upcoming editions of the Huskie and family newsletters will highlight what being a successful college student looks like. Here are some tips all employees can share with the Huskies who cross their paths:

“Research shows that when students feel connected to campus, they tend to persist and be happier with their education,” said Laurie Elish-Piper, Ph.D.,  dean of the College of Education. “I would strongly encourage Huskies to seek out mentors at NIU, whether formally or informally. Having someone who will believe in you, cheer you on and invest themselves in your journey can make all the difference in the world.”

NIU’s new associate vice provost for student success says the top piece of advice any employee can offer students right now is to be focused on making progress toward graduation.

“Earning a college degree is not about being perfect — it is about working steadily toward a goal and not giving up when you hit a roadblock,” said Nichole Knutson, associate vice provost for student success, Ph.D. “We’ve all been there, so don’t be afraid to share your experiences with Huskies in addition to offering guidance. They need that campus network and a toolkit of resources they can employ when they encounter setbacks.”